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Spinal Stenosis Essay

1755 words - 8 pages

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is a term commonly used to describe a narrowing of the spinal canal. This problem is much more common in people over the age of 60. However, it can occur in younger people who have abnormally small spine canals as a type of birth defect. The problem usually causes back pain and leg pain that comes and goes with activities such as walking. The purpose of this information is to help you understand: the anatomy of the spine related to spinal stenosis the signs and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, how the condition is diagnosed, and the treatments available for the condition.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Anatomy
The anatomy of the spine has ...view middle of the document...

Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs more commonly in males. This may be a combination of congenitally narrow canal linked with occupational risk. Although symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis is usually a disease of the middle-aged and the elderly, younger patients may also be affected. Typically, the earliest complaint is back pain, which is relatively nonspecific and may result in delayed diagnosis. Spinal stenosis often starts gradually and worsens over time. Signs of spinal stenosis will not likely develop until the narrowed areas compress the spinal cord or the base of the spinal nerves (nerve roots).
When present, symptoms may include pain that radiates into one or both thighs and legs, back and hip pain, pain in the neck and shoulders, loss of balance, and rarely loss of bowel or bladder functions. Symptoms are often worse with prolonged standing or walking. Symptoms may come and go and may vary in severity when present. Bending forward or sitting increases the room in the spinal canal and may lead to reduce pain or complete relief from pain. Pain relievers tend to be ineffective.

Spinal stenosis the silent epidemic and is apart of the aging process, it is not possible to predict who will be affected. Complex changes of the spine, dehydration, loss of spine mass, bone growth, all may result in compression of the spinal sac and nerve roots. The 2 forms of spinal stenosis are described as follows:
Primary spinal stenosis: relatively uncommon, results from disorders that are present at birth. The condition is diagnosed more easily because patients are younger and usually lack other complicating medical problems such as diabetes or vascular insufficiency. Achondroplasia would be classified as a primary spinal stenosis. This genetic disorder slows the rate at which bone forms during fetal development and in early childhood. As a result, short stature- often no more than four feet tall when fully grown. They also have a small spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord causing severe back and leg pain.
Acquired stenosis: Develops later in life. Complex changes in the vertebral structures and ligaments of the spine contribute to the development of acquired lumbar spinal stenosis. As the body dehydrates with age bones become less dense and the discs of the spine lose mass. The disc compress, causing tilting, slippage and rotation of the vertebral bodies. Usually as a result of degenerative changes in the spine that occur with aging, patients generally become symptomatic at age 50 years or older.
The main cause of spinal degeneration is Osteoarthritis, an acquired arthritic condition that affects the...

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